November 30, 2015


I've never been a person with lofty career ambitions. For a while in college I pretended. I love houses so I thought I could be an architect. I'd read a Jackie Collins novel and thought I could be a business woman and wear power suits. I fell in love with astronomy and physics and thought I could be an astrophysicist. But the truth was that I was floundering and had no idea who I wanted to be. My parents even suggested I take a year off. I decided to just pick a major I liked and go with it.

For about 6 months I used my Earth Science degree (sort of) when I led Spaceship Challenger missions for third graders. Then we moved and I worked in an office which sucked the life out of me. While looking through the Yellow Pages one day (yes it was a long time ago) I randomly came across nanny agencies and the rest is history.

Once I got over the look people would give me as they said, "You have a college degree and you're just a nanny?!" it was the best job I ever had. I worked as a nanny for 9 years. I loved all the kids and spent my days playing... plus I got to go home and sleep through the night.

Turning cream into butter at school.

I used to think it was my biggest character flaw... this lack of ambition. Now I see it as my greatest strength. I never thought I was destined for greatness, so I don't feel let down by life because I didn't win an Oscar or become a great American novelist or win a Nobel Peace Prize. I think the grass is plenty green right where I am. I hope to teach my kids to appreciate what they have and enjoy the every day moments.

Taking just one picture that I love feels like an accomplishment. Raising three loving, kind humans - an amazing feat. Raising awareness about Down syndrome and increasing acceptance will be my crowning glory. Even if just one person was changed, it will be enough.

Live life. Enjoy life. Where you are right now can be wonderful.

November 16, 2015


I think it's safe to say that my buddy doesn't like school. If you ask him, he'll choose home over school every time. I wish I could blame school but I'm pretty sure it's not them. He has an amazing team that works tirelessly to keep him focused and engaged. The problem is he just doesn't want to.

My buddy sees school as an endless day of doing what other people want him to. Plus it's a lot of work. He has a classroom teacher and a special ed teacher both demanding that he learn. Then there's the speech therapist, OT, PT and psychologist all pushing him to be his best.

On his progress reports over and over I read things like: He requires consistent encouragement to succeed with tasks. He can complete 4/5 assignments within a session when he feels healthy and the reinforcer is meaningful to him. Unable to cooperate with this activity. Fluctuates significantly depending on behavior.

I know how smart my buddy is. I know that he is performing way below his potential. It's really frustrating. Will he always be so unmotivated at school? Will he ever want to have a job? Is there something I could have done better - pushed him harder, made fewer excuses?

I remember loving elementary school and looking forward to seeing my friends and learning new things. School should be something that puts a smile on a child's face. I hate that is's such a struggle for him. I wish I could observe him all day without him knowing to see what it is really like for him. I get a call at least once a week from the nurse that he was really mad and kicked a wall or hit his head or hurt himself in some way. It both breaks my heart and makes me want to shake him and say, "Buck up. Life is full of hard work"

Not knowing how to help your child is so hard.